147 franchise owners in 250 locations
Overall initial investment: $120,00 to $130,000
Mr. Handyman caters to consumers who just don't have time to get to that to-do list of minor or even major home repairs. From installing attic insulation to putting up crown molding in the home, Mr. Handyman offers a wide range of services for residential and commercial properties. Mr. Handyman is a member of the Services Brands International lineup of franchises, which also includes Molly Maid, Protect Painters and 1-800-DRYCLEAN. "Mr. Handyman is a great business opportunity because our industry has consistent demand and need. People's biggest investment are in their homes and the services we provide with repairs, maintenance and improvements are not going away anytime soon, nor can they be outsourced or replaced by technology," says Mr. Handyman President Alex Roberts. The company helps new franchisees with customer acquisition through digital and more traditional marketing methods, as well as offering scalable services. "You can start small and add teams and vans as you grow your sales," Roberts says. The company has moved with the slow economy by targeting more commercial customers and adding such things as "light remodeling projects" to the list of services on the residential side to supplement revenue. Franchisees best suited to working for Mr. Handyman are used to being out in the field, not sitting behind a desk all day. "With so many franchise opportunities out there, it's important to make sure candidates work with a reputable franchisor with adequate resources. Working with a company who has a proven track record, financial stability and a secure future is important," Roberts says. "We aren't looking for carpenters or handyman, but people who are passionate about owning their own business, managing technicians and contributing to communities through beautifying homes and creating more jobs." So far in the first quarter, same-store sales are up more than 10% as compared with the year-earlier period. "Franchise owners are saying their phones are ringing as consumers are beginning to invest again on projects they put off during the recession," Roberts says.
39 franchise owners covering 110 territories in 24 states
Overall initial investment: $100,000 to $150,000
This might surprise some people, but junk removal is a $1 billion industry. Combine that with moving services and you're looking at upward of $20 billion. That's exactly the opportunity College Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving founders Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman saw when they founded their company in 2003, while still in college. College Hunks markets itself as the only company that has combined junk-removal and moving. "We can do it all. We can pack, load up U-Hauls,
82 franchise owners
Overall initial investment: $50,000
Fresh Coat Painters is an interior and exterior painter for residential and commercial locations. It is part of the Strategic Franchising Systems group of franchises started by serial franchisor Gary Green that include service-related brands such as Home Helpers, Direct Link, The Growth Coach, Caring Transitions and eTopDollar. Bernie Brozek, a fan of its low-investment, high-margin nature, joined as president three years ago. The company added 40 franchisees last year and is set to add another five this month. "We like to make sure our franchisees are cash positive before we send them out to do commercial and government work. We are focused on residential because that's a 24/7, 365-day-a-year business," Brozek says. "We can do that pretty much all day long, and by having our franchises start that way that gives them a great base for cash flow." Customers pay on completion of the job; in the commercial setting it can take up to several months to get paid. Franchises are for the most part run out of the home, but more successful franchisees will secure a warehouse if needed. "People tend to think that the majority of our owners are painters, yet 95% of
Overall initial investment: $61,000 to $117,000
Clean Air Lawn Care is the country's largest environmentally friendly lawn care service. The company says its mission is to "change the way America cares for lawns by empowering local owners and managers to deliver an exceptional lawn care service that improves the quality of life in their communities." It was started in 2006 by Kelly Giard, who left his career as a stockbroker to form the company in his Colorado garage. This year, Clean Air Lawn Care will add franchises in seven cities, for a total of 40 locations across the U.S. Clean Air Lawn Care uses electric and biodiesel-powered equipment for lawn mowing and landscape maintenance. They charge their equipment during the day with solar panels mounted on their trucks. Like College Hunks Hauling Junk's goal of becoming the Home Depot of junk hauling, Clean Air Lawn Care hopes to become the Whole Foods ( WFM) of the lawn care industry. Entrepreneurs looking for a green company with strong consumer trends underlying the business might want to consider Clean Air Lawn Care as a business. "Local owners of Clean Air franchises find independence, flexibility, fun, financial freedom and the ability to make a difference on the environment," the company says. Other benefits include a recurring revenue stream due to high customer retention and customers willing to pay "premium pricing" that equals higher margins, it says. Franchisees must demonstrate a proven record of business success, enjoy working outdoors and maintain a commitment to environmental issues. Along with a designated territory, a new Clean Air franchisee gets up to four mowing trucks and one organic soil treatment truck and a mix of residential and commercial properties chosen by a franchisee, it says.
130 franchisees in 235 locations
Overall initial investment: $53,000
Founded by 32-year-old Jonathan Barnett in 2006, Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning is one of the franchise industry's fastest-growing and environmentally friendly businesses. Franchisees can be home based and buy into the company for a relatively low cost. The company prides itself on a strong brand and boasts of a cleaning system better than its competitors. "We maintain our brand by providing the best possible service to every customer. Our goal is to earn lifetime customers who will use Oxi Fresh for years to come," Barnett says. "Our low start-up cost allows new entrepreneurs the opportunity to emerge even in a struggling economy." The business is just kicking in to high gear for the Spring Cleaning season. "Customers are looking to freshen up their carpets with a green, child-safe, pet-friendly carpet cleaner," Barnett says. "Many of our franchisees increase marketing to their areas beginning in March and April with the goal of attracting the consumers who wish to get their carpets cleaned during the spring cleaning season. This tidal wave of business lasts all summer and through the fall and winter holiday cleaning season." -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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